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In This Issue:
When Beth Baldwin, BSN, RN, was caring for a stage IV lung cancer patient on Tower 14AB, he told her his primary concern: to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary at home with his family.
Bladwin acknowledged the importance of this event and brought the celebration—and his family—to him. “Beth brought in a tablecloth, flowers and sparkling water so they could have their anniversary celebration,” said Christine Smith, MS, RN, nurse educator, who, along with nurse manager Patricia Brita Rossi, MS, RN, nominated Baldwin for the Essence of Nursing Award. “The patient and his family were overwhelmed with emotion and comforted by Beth’s presence.”
This type of commitment to and advocacy for her patients earned Baldwin this year’s Essence of Nursing Award, BWH’s top honor for nurses. Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services, presented Baldwin with the award at last night’s annual Nursing Recognition Dinner at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, where all BWH nurses were celebrated.
The four finalists for the Essence of Nursing received special recognition: Rhonda Martin, MPH, BSN, RN, of the Float Pool; Mary Beth Mondello, CNRN, of the Neuroscience ICU; Nancy Olsen Bailey, MBA, BSN, RN, of Neurosurgery and Neuro-oncology; and Corinne Cyr Pryor, BA, RNC, IBCLC, of the Neonatal ICU.
“Congratulations to Beth and our finalists,” Hickey said. “Their compassion, dedication and skill truly define the essence of nursing, and they are inspiring examples to us all.”
BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, attended the dinner and spoke of the high praise that nurses receive through the Press Ganey patient satisfaction surveys. “On behalf of all of our patients and your thousands of colleagues from throughout the hospital, thank you all for your exceptional professionalism and for making all the difference in the lives of our patients and their families,” he said.
Baldwin has touched many lives since she began her path to nursing while studying at George Mason University. “One day, it dawned on me that I wanted to work in a hospital caring for people at their most vulnerable moment in life, and I could do that through nursing,” she said.
The husband of a patient who recently died after battling breast cancer praised Baldwin’s attentiveness and skillful presence. “Beth knew exactly when to step in and offer advice, when to step back and provide privacy, when to offer support and when to help us grieve,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation for this award. “She was not only our nurse…she became a member of our family. Her compassion and sense of timing is something I believe cannot be taught; it is a gift that can only be admired.”
And when a homeless man was admitted with body lice, Baldwin provided the most dignified and respectful care. “She provided leadership for the entire care team through developing a plan of care that would not only take into consideration the physical needs of the patient but also provide a positive approach to a most difficult social situation,” said Smith. “After everyone had left the room, you could see the patient looking at himself in the mirror smiling.”
In addition to the impact she has on her patients, Baldwin continually strives to advance the practice of nursing by educating herself and her colleagues. She is a member of the newly-formed Patient and Family Education Committee in the Department of Nursing and a UMass-Boston clinical instructor, and, since joining BWH in 1999, she has become an expert in the care of diabetic patients and a smoking cessation counselor.